BUDA, Texas (KXAN) — The Hays High School football team got its Christmas miracle Thursday.
For the first time ever, the team played a game on Christmas Eve in the Class 6A-Division 2 regional semifinals. The Rebels won 62-41 against the San Antonio Taft Raiders at Shelton Stadium in Buda.
They’ll move on to the fourth round of the playoffs.
COVID-19 has caused games throughout the division to be delayed and rescheduled, which is why the team played on a holiday.
Hays senior Will Agnew said this year has been full of ups and downs but getting to play in a game like this in his last year is the best Christmas gift he could ask for.
“We’re trying not to focus on the holiday right now; we’re trying to focus on the game. But at the same time, it’s hard to put that in the back of your mind,” Agnew said. “We’re trying to get our own Christmas miracle.”
Every catch this season was cherished and every play a gift to all athletes on the field.
“The year has been tough, because you never know if you’re going to play the next game,” Agnew said. “There’s always cancellations—you hear about them all the time.”
Parents cheering on their boys feel like kids on Christmas morning, after they’ve lived through a year full of uncertainties.
“It’s kind of like a big uplifting for the community, just because of the crazy year we’re having, and the kids going through what they’re going through,” one family said.
Thursday’s game day is not only historic with it being played on a holiday, but it represents a sense of normalcy.
“Let’s just say it’s been a magical season for us,” another Hays football parent said.
Parents said this day is even more special, because the team hasn’t made it to the playoffs since 2006.
“I get tearful, because we’ve always been the underdogs, and I keep calling them ‘the bad news bears,’” A football mom said.
Win or lose—to play for these boys is a gift.
“Just want to thank everyone for supporting us through the whole year,” Agnew said.